Valve has suffered the biggest asset leak in the company's history, after a series of asset repositories for its games from 2016 were released online. The games are Portal, Counter Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Half Life 2: Episodes 1 & 2, Half-Life 2 multiplayer, and Team Fortress 2.
The leaks seem to originate from an account that calls themselves WandererLeaker, and to have been disseminated initially through Discord. In Discord chat the leaker wrote: "I don't care anymore. I also did my toying around with it for a few years, did not upload because I was threatened every time [...] A real shame. I have no legal binding to these files. Not anymore". They would later add "I have held onto these files since 2016".
The leaks are in the form of asset repositories, which is typically how a game's files would be bundled-up to share with an external partner. The biggest leak in terms of sheer scale is Team Fortress 2, and diving into that one will give you an idea of what there is to be unearthed here. The short version is that it's a 61GB package of almost every asset that the game's had.
"Tons of never before seen maps, models, PSDs & VMFs, everything," writes TF2 content creator Richter Overtime. "Once the community finishes digesting this (61GB), there will be nothing else to talk about. This is the last official TF2 content drop you or I will ever see."
That may be rather overdoing it, but there is certainly stuff here to get excited about. The assets date from 2016 and include cut content, content that was released in a different form, and assets that for whatever reason were abandoned. There's the barebones of a mooted Raid mode, which was cancelled and re-purposed as elements of the Mann Vs. Machine mode, map variants and entirely new maps (mostly for MvM mode). There's so many prototype maps, in fact, that they still haven't all been dug out.
"if dustbowl is so good where's dustbowl 2?"cp_dustbowl2: pic.twitter.com/lGgR4970lLJanuary 12, 2023
Other finds include a 3D model of Saxton Hale, a different bonesaw model, unused animations, several tutorial modes, weapon variants, an unused model for a little three-legged robot, and this witch from the spell book that was based on an older version of Miss Pauling.
Especially notable are a bunch of green and yellow textures that imply, at one point, Valve was considering implementing the classic Team Fortress colour scheme for both teams.
Most terrifying is a level 4 sentry. If you don't play TF2 then know this: A level 3 sentry will turn you and your team into colorful gibbets again and again. The idea of this thing having a final form… yeah, some things are best left on the cutting room floor.
The leak also includes various taunts that were created but either never added to the game or remain unfinished.
The TF2 community is also full of jokers, some of who are using this leak as an opportunity to post slightly obscure older or community content and say it's part of the leak. Here's a sight that only your mother should ever see, a naked spy model, but it's not from this particular leak (the detail of his shoes remaining on is great though).
Another older leak that's being mixed-in is a model for the female soldier, which is official but the textures of which are fan-made. Another is the internal pitch by artist Drew Wolf to bring a female version of each class to the game, which the artist first shared in 2017. The designs are incredible, mind, especially the idea of an 80 year-old Scottish granny demowoman: "C'mere n' go boom ya wee shite!"
The material is being combed-over by dataminers and modders as we speak and, given there's 61GB of TF2 alone, expect more stuff to come to light over the next few weeks. If you're interested and take your own deep-dive, bear in mind that a lot of what you'll read about what a given item was intended for or why it was abandoned is speculation. Some discoveries here are well over a decade old and, when you consider the amount of assets TF2 has accumulated over time, a certain degree of wastage is inevitable.
A quick-and-dirty collage of some interesting icons in the tf2 leak I haven't seen anyone mention yet- Mop (Pyro)- Canvas Shoes (Scout) (Blank Buck Turners?)- Prep Cap (Scout)- Victorian Boots (Demo)- Generousest (Early Gifting Man?)- Taunt Case (Early Reel Case?) pic.twitter.com/2lqVdaHBp1January 13, 2023
The last official update for Team Fortress 2 gave its community the keys to the kingdom, with Valve focusing on adding tools and creator freedom that should see the game live on for years to come. This very unofficial addendum will no doubt turbocharge that, and it is undeniably something of a coincidence that it's happened so shortly afterwards. Whatever the TF2 community do with this, hopefully no-one will build the level 4 sentry.
As for the other leaks, it's all the above but on a smaller scale. There is doubtless material of interest in the various Half-Life and Portal files, but don't expect someone to find the Half-Life 3 source code in here: It's all assets that were bundled-up to be shared with external partners, and thus anything especially sensitive would have been removed beforehand (and this leak shows exactly why).
I've asked Valve for comment on this huge leak of its material, and will update with any response.